My Journey - from starting over to moving up...

blstravler

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I’m not one really to share to much so this is a change for me. I’ll try my best to update this as often as possible.

Here’s my story...

I started in salt water to many years ago to remember. I think my first tank was in 7th grade. I’ve had about 8 tanks with the last half being reefs. My last tank was a 180 which I took down around 2008. Took some time to get married, build a house and have a kid. I always wanted to get back into the hobby but I was never in a rush.

This is one of the last pictures of my 180..

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As my son turned 5 last year we happen to be picking up some dog toys in PetSmart and he saw the goldfish and asked if we could have one. We escaped PetSmart without goldfish. Until a week later he asked again so we picked up a 10gal and we brought home Goldie and Steven. My son was so excited. It was fun to see him get as excited as I once was.

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A few weeks later my wife said the words “I miss the tank” about 2 months later we agreed on a place to put a new reef tank and I started to shop for a new tank....


Here is my current tank about a week after set up in May of 2019 with just a pair of Clown fish.

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As if right now the Tank is a Red Sea 425xl and this is most of my current equipment
  • Apex EL
  • COR 15
  • 2 MP40’s
  • LifeReef Skimmer
  • 48in ATI SunPower 6 bulb with 2 LumiLight Pro’s
  • BRS media reactors (Carbon & GFO)
  • 5 stage BRS RODI
  • 2 Apex Versa for AWC (1 gallon a day)
  • Aquamaxx Calcium reactor, 2 stage regulator, Kamoer FX-STP - 10lbs CO2 tank.
  • UV Sterilizer - can’t remember which one.
I use Reef Crystals for salt and aside from the CalRx I don’t really dose anything. I add in Magnesium media (Neo Mag from Brightwell) to the reactor and use Caribsea coarse media. I keep the effluent ALK at about 18. I test Alk regularly as well as Po4. Pretty much use Salifert test kits but I do use Hana for Po4. Originally I had all the Hana units but Salifert is just way easier. My Po4 is usually around .04 and Alk is typically 8.5. I measure Nitrates every month or so it’s usually around .5 or 1 - sometimes higher but as long as I have some and everything is happy I leave it be.

As far as equipment goes I’ve changed a lot over the past 18 months - gave LED’s a try (Hydra 52’s in the picture above) but I like the simplicity of T5’s - started with Nero 5’s went to Gyre’s and went to MP 40’s - easy to clean.

My main principle is to keep things easy. T5’s turn on and off - easy. Calcium Reactor is set and forget - easy. I can monitor every from the Apex - easy.

Here is the tank today - just about 18 months. Everything started from frags...

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My current fish are -

4 Lyertail 1m3f
9 Ignitus Anthias
7 Green Chromis
1 Chevron Tang
1 Midas Blenny
1 Black Leopard Wrasse
1 Yellow Wrasse
1 Mandarin



So what’s next? Well I’m running out of space so there’s an obvious answer to that question and that will be my next post...

Thanks for reading!
 
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blstravler

blstravler

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So I have a few reasons to upgrade. First - and we all can agree on this - I need more space for livestock. Second - while I love the RS 425xl it doesn’t give me a few things I want. I don’t like the cabinet- the sump could be so much bigger and the plumbing is poorly designed and by that I mean the return valve.

However I don’t have a lot of room in my home and I am cognizant of weight as the ground floor framing of our home is older. So I can’t go too much bigger. I also wanted to reuse as much equipment as possible - especially the lights. After a lot of looking I settled on a Acrylic tank from American Aquariums out in PA. One of the biggest reason I choose them was how responsive they where. Ever time I reached out they got back to me within the day and typically within the hour. Adam was great to deal with and would recommend them to anyone. The tank should ship out this Monday Nov 2nd and I expect to have it a couple days later.

The new tank will be 54”x26”x22” with an external over flow. Over all I’m gaining 6in. in width and 4in in depth and gaining all of the space back from the internal overflow. The stand is 36in tall and will have two doors in the front and one on the side.

I haven’t had an acrylic tank in a long time but am familiar with what it takes to clean one and I’ve done a fair amount of reading and asking questions of other R2R members who have acrylic tanks. So I feel I’m well prepared to properly care for this tank.

I just got all the plumbing fittings in so I just need to pick up a few lengths of pipe and I should be good.

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I got a great deal on a used but never wet ProClear RedFlex Reef 400 sump. It gives me the space I need and I like their refugium design. I was planning on a Bashsea sump but the price on the ProClear was too good to pass up.

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I’m planning on using my existing COR15 for my return and I have a COR20 I’m going to use for a manifold to feed my UV, Skimmer and media reactors. Today they all have separate pumps so it will be nice to get back a few plugs on one of the EB8’s.

More updates to come...
 
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blstravler

blstravler

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I have two pumps running now. One COR20 for the return and a COR15 for the manifold. I finished the manifold today and now just need to connect everything to it and away from all of the individual pumps they where each using. Over all I’ll avoid having to use dedicated pumps for my skimmer, UV and media reactors.
 
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blstravler

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Here is the tank currently.

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Need to move the rock around and affix all of the coral permanently. All my corals are on very small pieces of rock as I knew I’d likely go to a larger tank.
 
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blstravler

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Oh I’m also going to add in a small amount of sand after the rock is all in place. I was going to try and reuse my old sand but I didn’t really have a lot (half a 5 gallon bucket) and it was not worth the hassle to clean. I got a large and a small bag of the Caribsea Live sand so that will go in. I also order a DIY screen top from BRS.
 

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Looking good, hopefully you are having fun with this current project
 
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blstravler

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Things seem to be going well. My Alk dropped so I had to adjust the CalRx so all should be good soon. In my old tank I had a refugium but I did bring it over to this tank - I'm thinking about going to a Macroalgae Reactor this time around - seem like less to deal with. Going to give things a couple more weeks to settle in before I add any new fish or coral - still thinking about another Tang.
 

Would you use biomedia in your reef?

  • Yes! In fact, I already do! (Tell us which biomedia you use and share your experience in the thread)

    Votes: 23 52.3%
  • Yes. I would try it. Seems like a good method for nutrient control.

    Votes: 5 11.4%
  • I dunno... I'm still thinking about it, but I have questions. (Post your questions and we'll help!)

    Votes: 3 6.8%
  • No. I don't like it. I use other methods. (Share in the thread)

    Votes: 12 27.3%
  • No. I tried it, and my results weren't what I wanted. (Please share your experience with us.)

    Votes: 1 2.3%
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